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How important is political intrigue when you play or run Vampire: the Masquerade?

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  • How important is political intrigue when you play or run Vampire: the Masquerade?

    Most of my characters are better at intrigue, though my Ventrue did have Fortitude and Charity (my Tremere) learned a couple levels of Celerity from a Toreador she hung out with for a while.


    The die is cast.

    Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

  • #2
    Really depends on what kinda plot is being run imo.


    You've been playing around the magic that is black
    But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back

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    • #3
      Political intrigue is my favorite part of V:tM. The struggle to maintain one's humanity or the war with the Sabbat can be fun on occasion, but for me, the focus of the game is political intrigue.

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      • #4
        Sergeant Brother I totally agree.


        The die is cast.

        Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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        • #5
          Extremely. It's a huge part of my game and the intimacy of the fact it's you versus the Prince, the Primogen, and their plots against each other is a major factor in every game.


          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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          • #6
            If it weren't for politics and intrigue, I wouldn't bother playing. Vampire changed the way I approach *everything*, even D&D and Rolemaster. Now in my games, you can't clear out a Monster Lair without local authorities looking up and wondering what you're up to, without taxing authorities wondering how much you received, without distant princes saying that they have a claim to your recovered magic items....

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            • #7
              Preminent factor. Which ties also to Humanity and personal horror. How much will you dispose of your humanity to climb the ladder of the Camarilla?

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              • #8
                Legendre or a princess pissed off that you killed her crush...

                It happens lol. Dragons can polymorph into humanoid form.


                The die is cast.

                Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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                • #9
                  Politics & Intrigue tend to have two styles in games and which style you prefer to do takes the game in wildly different directions. Unfortunately this also means that when people discuss using "Politics & Intrigue" in their games they can be discussing radically different things while using the same words.

                  The first style is favored in LARP settings and RP heavy table top groups where the alliances and backstabbing really boils down to gossiping and selling each other out to whom ever has more power. At best this is very character focused, but at worst it is little more than high school clique manipulation. Mechanically this is mostly RP decisions and social rolls, which leads to in game reactions.

                  The second style of "Politics & Intrigue" is best described as a more Sun Tzu's The Art of War approach. The character might occasionally verbally spar with an opponent, but the way they win is by gaining control of a bank, utility company, mayoral candidate, etc. Mechanically it is about the strategic use of Background dots, using them to increase your scores and eat away at your enemies scores behind the scenes. Of course you only reveal this fact when it is to your benefit, but in the end you win before getting to the meeting where you do your political intrigue RP.

                  As for how important it is in my games, the first style doesn't factor in much to be honest. Only neonates are gravely affected by negative gossip, while elders or those who have a lot of power tend to insulate themselves from such things. Thus the second style plays a much more important role in my games. But to each their own when it comes to such things.

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                  • #10
                    I'd say intrigue is the most prominent aspect of my chronicle. At least if you have my god's eye view. There's a lot the players don't know.

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                    • #11
                      Thoth I'm the opposite. I much prefer the first style for exactly the reasons you hate it. However, my Ventrue did use the second style when we were trying to control the Senate in ancient Rome. Unfortunately, neither me nor my character were that good at it, which is why our faction ended up losing and Octavian became emperor.

                      But I am impressed that you've mastered the Sun Tzu approach to political intrigue. Very Thothian of you .


                      The die is cast.

                      Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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                      • #12
                        Deep political intrige has always been the hearth of the masquerade and my games.

                        Everything happens for a reason Ex:why did the Tremere chantry got destroyed?
                        Well the weakening of it due the treason of Nicholai to Viena opened the posibility of an alliance between the Scholomance and Aquelarre factions to hit them wich all the thinkable violence furthermore aquelarre faction managed to recruit a lot of members from the disbanding chantry before the assault along some caitiff who made part of the masses of the attack.Rumors say that Nicholai still survives blood bonded to the piramid after long hours of torture and with the order to kill his progeny but didn´t he used to like one of them? Eritclo? Well he has been seen with a beutiful neonate called Portia , yeah she is above his level but sometimes love is rare isnt it? Also who cares with two magic factions rituals are cheaper than before and nobody liked the Tremere anyway.

                        Translation:
                        Nicholai fucked things up with caused the equivalents of the ordo dracul and the aquelarre (controlled by Menelao whose projection is adored as blood god who teaches rituals) to come to the city now Helena moved his pawns in house Tremere to recover his own Pawn in order to kill the traitors and have some magic user at his service to counter the blood magic of his rival this being the reason why she wants the Tremere back in the city.

                        Tier one Effects of this plot:The characters are recruited as foot soldiers/assasins
                        Tier two of this plot:The Characters must fight over a place of power needed for advenced rituals/experiments extending their influence choosing to give it either to Scholomance or the Aquelarre.Violence is out of the window as the prince doesnt want a civil war so the fight is a subtle and dance similar to the cold war.
                        Tier Three of this plot:Everything is unveiled Menele and Helena hand moving the fate of their pawns over multiple domains is discovered? Why did the characters had to get this forbidden and dangerous knowledge

                        Note:Personally I think it is an error not to make the character creation describe a domain for your character even if it is a mere street at the borders of the city where you are first foot soldier against sabbats becuase with this you get something to care and conspire to expand.
                        Last edited by Leandro16; 02-27-2020, 01:03 PM.


                        https://www.deviantart.com/cicerondixit/gallery

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                          Thoth I'm the opposite. I much prefer the first style for exactly the reasons you hate it.
                          I don't hate the first style so much as been bogged down by its limitations. Many systems in games can function if the player or ST has no real world knowledge or skill in the given subject, but things like social manipulation or empire building don't have clean mechanisms to make up for a lack of understanding. Though if it was easy to make RPGs with those sorts of elements, more games would have those mechanics. The first style is about having an interesting scene, the second style is about attaining an interesting goal.

                          I guess another way to look at it is having two players running Tremere with the Path of Conjuring. The first player has some stage magic experience in real life and uses the Path of Conjuring to enhance slight of hand tricks and pull off cool moments in game. The second player on the other hand has a degree in chemistry and thus has quite the extensive library of substances to bring up that with a wave of the hand completely upend a given scene. As long as both players are having fun and enjoying themselves, it's all good. But there is a significant difference in storyline impact by the PC capabilities.

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                          • #14
                            Thoth makes sense. I guess I’m better at gossiping and backstabbing than military strategy.


                            The die is cast.

                            Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Thoth View Post
                              The first style is favored in LARP settings and RP heavy table top groups where the alliances and backstabbing really boils down to gossiping and selling each other out to whom ever has more power. At best this is very character focused, but at worst it is little more than high school clique manipulation. Mechanically this is mostly RP decisions and social rolls, which leads to in game reactions.
                              That just sounds like typical coalition building. It's the oldest form of politics. Even chimpanzees do it. You find allies and use the group to achieve things you can't individually. And while sometimes that takes a bandwagon approach by selling out to the individual with the most power, I think it it just as much if not more so used to balance or even subordinate the most powerful individual to the group.

                              It is favored in LARP because only in LARP (lots of people) can it truly be practiced. Even the best ST in a a tabletop game can only effectively RP so many NPCs.

                              If it is lacking, I don't think it is because it is "about having an interesting scene." It's that, IMHO, most LARP players actually lack goals or interests for their characters so they rarely politic in order to accomplish anything. They just react to petty slights and to have drama. But if you happen to play with a troupe with a higher than average caliber of player, it is very dynamic and intense.

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